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If both members of the couple are cerebral narcissists, for instance if both of them are scholars â the resulting competition prevents them from serving as ample Sources of Narcissistic Supply to each other. Finally the mutual admiration society crumbles.
Consumed by the pursuit of their own narcissistic gratification, they have no time or energy or will left to cater to the narcissistic needs of their partner. Moreover, the partner is perceived as a dangerous and vicious contender for a scarce resource: Sources of Narcissistic Supply. This may be less true if the two narcissists work in totally unrelated academic or intellectual fields.
But if the narcissists involved are of different types, if one of them is cerebral and the other one somatic, a long-term partnership based on the mutual provision of Narcissistic Supply can definitely survive.
Example: if one of the narcissists is somatic (uses his/her body as a source of narcissistic gratification) and the other one cerebral (uses his intellect or his professional achievements as such a source), there is nothing to destabilise such collaboration. It is even potentially emotionally rewarding.
The relationship between these two narcissists resembles the one that exists between an artist and his art or a collector and his collection. This can and does change, of course, as the narcissists involved grow older, flabbier and less agile intellectually. The somatic narcissist is also prone to multiple sexual relationships and encounters intended to support his somatic and sexual self-image. These may subject the relationship to fracturing strains. But, all in all, a stable and enduring relationship can â and often does â develop between dissimilar narcissists.
This rule of thumb (âopposites attractâ) does not apply to classic-inverted pairing. Cerebral narcissists tend to pair with inverted cerebral narcissists who can appreciate their intellectual accomplishments and appropriate them as, vicariously, their own. Similarly, somatic narcissists bond with their inverted-somatic counterparties.
Though content to derive her narcissistic supply from the awed reactions to her intimate partnerâs achievements, the inverted narcissist â being of the same type â still feels envious and frustrated by her relative obscurity. In the long run, she succumbs to her self-defeating urges and seeks to ruin the fount of her frustration despite the fact that he also serves as her prime source of narcissistic supply.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)